How past economic crises have impacted structural drivers of emissions contributing to emission peaks in 28 countries?
The new paper entitled "Most industrialised countries have peaked carbon dioxide emissions during economic crises through strengthened structural change" produced by Germán Bersalli, Tim Tröndle and Johan Lilliestam, has been published at Springer Nature Group’s Communications Earth Environment Journal!
As the climate targets tighten and countries are impacted by several crises, understanding how and under which conditions carbon dioxide emissions peak and start declining is gaining importance.The paper assesses the timing of emissions peaks in all major emitters (1965–2019) and the extent to which past economic crises have impacted structural drivers of emissions contributing to emission peaks.
The paper shows that in 26 of 28 countries that have peaked emissions, the peak occurred just before or during a recession through the combined effect of lower economic growth (1.5 median percentage points per year) and decreasing energy and/or carbon intensity (0.7) during and after the crisis. In peak-and-decline countries, crises have typically magnified pre-existing improvements in structural change. In non-peaking countries, economic growth was less affected, and structural change effects were weaker or increased emissions.
Crises do not automatically trigger peaks but may strengthen ongoing decarbonisation trends through several mechanisms.
Read the open access paper here!